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Low altitude clouds
8,000 ft - Ground

Clouds in the low level etage are usually of the nimbostratus, stratocumulus, stratus, cumulus and cumulonimbus type. We will learn more about some of them here.


These puffs of clouds are usually seen on a summer's day, and they are also the inspiration when we want to draw a cloud. They float lazily across the sky, looking like tufts of cotton wool.

On some occasions, a small Cumulus cloud develop and grow into a much larger cloud, towering upwards, sometimes with many turrets.


Stratocumulus are grey, white or both grey and white and they are often arranged in lines or groups. It usually has some dark parts, composed of rounded masses or rolls, usually with a few gaps.

The appearance of stratocumulus is similar to that of altocumulus, but since it's on a lower height, the stratocumulus look larger and sometimes smoother than the altocumulus.


The Stratus cloud is mostly grey and featureless. It may give drizzle, ice prisms or snow grains.

In general, stratus has a more clearly defined and more uniform base than nimbostratus and it doesn't share the nimbostratus clouds love for producing rain, snow or ice pellets.

15th October 2000
Sarah Amandusson